The release of the UK Labour Party’s report into antisemitism last week revealed the significant extent of the problem.
No, we’re not talking about what was contained within the report, which by all accounts was at best limp in the way it addressed antisemitism within the Party.
We’re talking about the launch itself – including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s vile comparison of Israel with Islamic State:
“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”
The Community Security Trust’s Director of Communications, Mark Gardner, says:
“CST has, many times, hosted politicians and others who have made exactly the same point about not blaming Jews for Israel’s actions, but none of them have done so by equating Israel with ISIS, nor have they risked sounding like they were doing so.
“When asked if he meant to equate Israel to ISIS, Corbyn firmly denied having meant any such thing. Yet in the current debate, anti-Muslim hate is pinned upon the actions of ISIS, not of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc. Corbyn’s wording was perfectly deniable and perfectly objectionable.”
Sadly, this was not the only thing to mar what was supposed to be an event about combating antisemitsm.
As attendees arrived flyers were being handed out that suggested the whole antisemitism affair was merely a witch-hunt against the Labour leadership.
Also at the launch, a member of the hard-left Momentum group that supports Corbyn, Marc Wadsworth, verbally attacked a Jewish Labour MP with claims she was colluding with Britain’s Daily Telegraph – propounding the classic antisemitic stereotype of Jews controlling the media. As this happened, Corbyn did nothing; the MP, Ruth Smeeth, left the event in tears. Corbyn was subsequently seen chatting amicably with Wadsworth as they left the room.
Wadsworth has since claimed he’s been been expelled from the party.
Accusing Corbyn of changing an “anti-anti-Semitism event into a rallying call for Corbyn against his enemies”, Gardner lamented the lost opportunity for a positive result:
“If Corbyn had merely accepted the report’s findings, condemned racism against Jews, declined to accept inevitable questions from the assembled media about his leadership and left the building, then it would have been relatively fine.
“Instead, it turned into a circus, with all of the resulting atmosphere and headlines that now further undermine Jewish confidence in Labour mending its ways. In short, the event achieved the direct opposite of its purpose, meaning the good that was contained in the actual Inquiry report was largely ignored.”
As for the report itself, BICOM’s Alan Johnson perhaps sums it up best:
“The report could have said, ‘While the party does not have a neo-Nazi problem, it does have a problem with an anti-Israelism of a particularly excessive, obsessive, and demonizing kind, and it’s now co-mingling with an older set of classical anti-Semitic tropes, images and assumptions to create anti-Semitic anti-Zionism. What ‘the Jew’ once was in older anti-Semitism – uniquely malevolent, full of blood lust, all-controlling, the hidden hand, tricksy, always acting in bad faith, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on – the Jewish state now is for some of our members, and that’s why we have the shame of anti-Semitism in the party.
“But [the] report did none of that. Instead it reduced the scale of the party’s crisis to “a series of unhappy incidents.”
Long-time Labour activist Luke Akehurst said:
“I’ve never felt more ashamed for my party. It has been hijacked by extremists and is led by a man whose incompetence as a leader is matched only by his tenacity as a sectarian factionalist and the obsessiveness of his hatred of Israel.”
Meanwhile, Writing in the Daily Telegraph (UK), Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard called it “one of the most extraordinarily appalling events in the history of the Labour Party” and called on Corbyn to resign.
Corbyn has associated with rabid antisemites and Holocaust deniers, and previously called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” . It has also just been revealed he was found to have accepted money from Iran’s Press TV propaganda channel even though it was banned in the UK.
In the wake of Brexit he lost a Labour Party no confidence vote by 172-40.